For the first time in the eight-year history of ShoBox: The New Generation, there will be a world title unification bout Friday night, broadcast on Showtime at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
Two of the most talented 122-pounders, undefeated IBF super bantamweight champion Steve "The Canadian Kid" Molitor, 28-0 (11) from Ontario, Canada, and WBA titlist Celestino Caballero, 30-2 (21) from Colon, Panama, face off at the Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario.
Caballero has won 11 in a row going back to May 2004 and has five successful title defenses, as does Molitor. He's the naturally bigger man with a solid four-inch height advantage. He's awkward, lanky, heavy-handed, crafty and, also like Molitor, he's a southpaw. He's a tough opponent by any measurement.
Molitor heads into the clash, which he calls "the biggest fight of my career" with new inspiration and shifting priorities as he learned that he and his fiancé are expecting a son in 2009.
Throughout his life, his motivation for the sport has been his brother Jeremy. Steve and Jeremy were known as the "Bruise Brothers" as they climbed the Canadian amateur boxing ranks in the late 1990s.
But as Steve turned pro in 2000, Jeremy narrowly failed to qualify for the Olympics that year and ultimately turned to drugs and alcohol. On May 4, 2002, he confronted an ex-girlfriend, waitress Jessica Nethery, in a parking garage and stabbed her 58 times.
He had been under a restraining order for previous abuse to stay away from the woman.
Jeremy was listed in police reports as being under the influence of drugs and alcohol. He was convicted of second-degree murder in December 2004 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years.
The conviction had no affect on the Molitor brothers' bond. Jeremy is still a big part of Steve's life and his No. 1 fan. Steve concedes that the ordeal has taken a "tremendous toll" on him, but adds that, "It's just the trials and tribulations of my life. My brother, he's on the phone with me all the time telling me to train hard and stay focused so that also helps as well."
Now, Steve says, "My focus is completely on boxing. The past is the past. I survived. I stayed out of trouble. I kept winning."
But for a man who never committed a crime, Steve Molitor certainly faces daily questions about it, a side tragedy to a brutal murder.
A member of the Molitor camp says, "He talks about it, he's open, but the thing is that Steve is so much more than that."
In a 2006 interview on Morgancampbell.net, Molitor said, "When I open the paper I don't want the headline to be about my brother or to take away from what I'm doing in boxing. Obviously it's a part of my life and it's always going to come up. I don't mind answering questions, but I don't want it to be the story."